Dr. Lillie May Carroll Jackson

Jackson and Mitchell Family. Paul Henderson. MdHS, HEN.00.B1-052

This family has contributed a significant amount to the Civil Rights movement and the history of Baltimore. Keiffer Jackson (seated left), traveling church entertainer was husband of Dr. Lillie May Carroll Jackson (seated far right), President of the Baltimore Branch NAACP from 1935 to 1970. Their daughters Juanita Jackson Mitchell (seated second from left), the first black woman to practice law in Maryland, and Virginia Jackson Kiah (seated second from right) worked together to create the City-Wide Young People’s Forum. Virginia was also a well-known artist. Clarence M. Mitchell, Jr. (standing center), after whom the Baltimore City Courthouse is named, reported for the Afro-American newspaper before moving on to become an NAACP lobbyist in Washington, D.C. [Image: Jackson and Mitchell Family, not dated, Maryland Historical Society, HEN.00.B1-052.]

PHOTOGRAPHS AND AUDIO CLIP: Vernon Dobson speaking about Dr. Lillie May Carroll Jackson (McKeldin-Jackson Oral History Project, OH 8131)

Transcript:

Getting back to Dr. Jackson… understand the continuity of history, I would say that the thing that I think makes her leadership important in the Civil Rights Movement in Baltimore is that she made this a religion onto itself, this whole matter of civil rights. 

Wherever it was necessary for us to have a spokesman, she was that person. Our spokesperson. 

And wherever she felt the necessity for making some kind of appeal for equal rights and justice under the law, she did it. 

And many times, at a personal sacrifice. 

Largely [?] later on, the NAACP started getting funds from the churches so they were undergirded by church funds and that kind of a thing later on. 

Even then, she had to have the personal magnetism and persuasion to get church to give and to support. 

I used to always enjoy her coming to a large church meeting and just having her personality take over. 

Everybody would… any presiding officer would always use as a measure of his success to preside his ability to keep her down to… limit her to two minutes or three minutes and she would come in with a glimmer in her eye and look at him and say, “Young man,” he could be sixty, seventy years old, “Young man, you just got here. I’ve been in this struggle all these years.”

And then she’d go on to push him aside with a verbal barrage that would just reduce him to nothing and then would go on to make an appeal and it would always last fifteen, twenty minutes. 

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